By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
One of my many very fine traditions (second maybe to Christmas morning's strawberries and champagne and bagels and lox, and definitely ahead of my Valentine's Day tradition of drinking and weeping to the accompaniment of a Sandra Bullock marathon) is to screw New Year's Eve—literally, when possible—in favor of waking somewhere beautiful to watch the sun rise on New Year's Day.
In 2000, to wrap up a five-day cross-country bomb from Long Island through Louisiana and Las Cruces, New Mexico, that place was to be Joshua Tree, but foxy former OC Dem Foundation Executive Directress Sandra Ramos and I only got as far as a cruddy rest stop on the 10 before the sun came up, and then we breakfasted at an Indio diner near some unecessarily rude and codgerly old men.
Last Thursday, after festivizing with my coworkers at the edenic Utopia Cafe in Long Beach, and prior to getting liquored up at the Prospector and crashing in Ziegler's LBC bed shoved between him and TomChild, I rang up Suparna the Rocket Scientist. "Do you wanna take a road trip this weekend for New Year's?" I asked her machine, and she rang back promptly. "I'm already going somewhere this weekend," she said regretfully, leaving it up to me to ask where, and then to ask if I could come too. I would love to go camping in Joshua Tree! I am very helpful! I will bring wine!
And so she said okay, probably also regretfully, but Suparna is very subtle and I choose not to speak "subtlety," which is why I like art made by university feminists. Look! Vaginas!
We stopped first inPioneertown, a ghosty place outside Yucca Valleythat hosts performances by serious country types like the luminous sadness that is Shelby Lynne, to get a Cowboy Combo and play some pool while a band of bearded Waylon Jennings types sang Danteish epic storysongs about the religious right burning in Hell alongside anyone who hurts a child, and how they always thought the Devil's solo kicked Charlie Daniels' ass. (Agreed.) There, we made friends with some toothless Harley grannies and threatened one particular oaf with great bodily harm, which was cool, and the gentleman in question stopped explaining that I was asking to be called "Tits" by promenading about in my inciting outfit of T-shirt and sweats when I looked at him through scary dead eyes and asked him scary and deadlike whether he thought it wise to continue the conversation while I was holding a pool cue.
In fact, he didn't, and he backed the fuck off and stopped talking at me, and I didn't have to spend New Year's in jail. I leave that to my baby brother Cakeyboy, though he seems to prefer Thanksgiving and his birthday for his regularly scheduled stints in the pokey.
We finally got to Joshua Tree sometime or other—who really knows anymore?—and Suparna made me hike a bunch and shit, having become an athlete and rock climber in the past year, encouraged by her supervisor at JPL, a crewcutted Japanese American lesbian chick named Laurie whom I once followed around for two hours at one of Suparna's parties because Laurie is awesome, and when I told Suparna the next morning that I had followed Laurie around for two hours, Suparna explained, "That's pretty much how I live my entire life now." So, yeah, now Suparna rock climbs and takes wilderness survival courses, which is good because I don't know how to start a fire unless I'm smoking in bed, but she's also planning to hike the John MuirTrail solo this summer, and I have to come up with her trail name. I'm thinking something along the lines of "ButterflyRainPixieShroomBow," because she already said no to "Smegma."
* * *
At about nine p.m. on New Year's Eve proper, having burned a bunch of metaphors in our fire pit all witchy-like—good witchy-like—Suparna trucked off to bed and I went spreading goodwill from campfire to campfire, despite one crazy-mean lady who kept saying really hostile things to me, like "You must really love George W. Bush."
Or rather, beg pardon?
She was all superior and nasty and eye-rolly, like my mom, actually, except she didn't tell me I was wearing whore shoes, and she's not there when I need her.
I'd been looking for hippies, and I found them (surprise!) in the persons of three kids from Whittier (and Cal State Fullerton) with rings through their faces having a drum circle (naturally) and playing TrivialPursuit.
Having found the hippies (and some fire dancers, which surprised us but not at all) and made it to midnight (though it took me about five minutes after some folk lit off fireworks to realize it was in fact midnight and they had been lit off for the New Year, because at that point, having found hippies, my reaction time had become . . . muddled), I trucked off to bed too, where I had a long, interesting and very profound thought on the metaphorical meaning of bridges, which I considered writing down—for you—but my little notebook was in my little backpack and I would have had to get out of the tent and put on my little shoes—fuckin' right—andthen I had a separate profound thought, not about bridges but about something else, whose very topic now eludes me completely but it totally doesn't matter, as the important thing is that I remember that I forgot. For you.
I blame the hippies; they should be used to it.